Live From Mars was active July 1996-December 1997.
On Wednesday, February 26, from 9-10 a.m., PST, Jim Murphy. As a meteorologist and researcher, Jim's work consists of developing computer models of the Martian atmosphere, as well as analyzing data from past spacecraft missions to Mars and participating in upcoming missions to Mars. Jim's current plans are to study the weather data sent back by the Mars Pathfinder from the surface of Mars. Read more about Jim in his biography at: http://passporttoknowledge.com/lfm/team Please join us! RSVP to Andrea by sending a brief Email note to email@example.com. This RSVP is very important, as it will allow us to ensure that the chatroom does not become too crowded.
The Live From Mars program #1, "Countdown," will be rebroadcast on NASA-TV on February 28 at 2-3 p.m., EST. NASA TV: Spacenet-2, C-Band, T5, Ch. 9, 69 W, 3880 MHz, horizontal polarization, audio 6.8 MHz. NASA TV may preempt scheduled programming for live agency events. For further information on NASA TV go to: http://spacelink.msfc.nasa.gov:80/Educational.Services/ Educational.News.and.Information/NASA.Education.TV.Schedule/
APRIL 24 TELECAST
"Cruising Between the Planets," the next telecast from Passport to Knowledge, will come to you live from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California on April 24. Several other activities related to Live From Mars will occur over the next couple of months. MARCH 2-8: SPACEWEEK is an annual worldwide week of space activity dubbed the "Earth Day of Space." Spaceweek hopes to inspire youth about their future and motivate them to excel in science, math and other disciplines required to explore space. Spaceweek International Association is offering more than $1000 in grants and scholarships to teachers and students. Applications will be accepted through APRIL 1, 1997. A Teacher's Spaceweek Kit is available and includes classroom activities, student-recognition certificates, a full-color Spaceweek 1997 poster, and an application for the grant and scholarship. The kit costs $20 and can be ordered from Spaceweek International by calling 800-20-SPACE or fax 281-335- 0229. A Spaceweek special events guidebook is also available for $10. Visit the Spaceweek Web site at: http://www.spaceweek.org APRIL 20-26: The theme of the National Science Foundation's NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY WEEK is "Webs, Wires and Waves," which relates to communications and communications technologies (a perfect opportunity to highlight LFM in your school!). Passport to Knowledge is referenced as a resource for the space communications activity and Live From Mars and Live From Antarctica 2 are both cited. A free, hands-on teaching activities packet developed by the NSF for NSTW '97 includes six, eight-page booklets presenting activities to help students explore the ways we communicate. The packet also has a section of more than 80 resources and a poster. To obtain a copy of the packet contact your nearest NSTW Regional Network affiliate or download it from the NSTW home page at http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/nstw/start.htm Send email inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call Michael Fluharty at 703-306-1070 or write NSTW, c/o NSF, Room 1245, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22230. APRIL 20-26: NATIONAL SKY AWARENESS WEEK will provide opportunities for teachers, students, parents, and home schoolers to learn how to read the sky, understand its processes and appreciate the its natural beauty. The NSTA, the National Weather Service, the National Weather Association, the International Weather Watchers, and The Weather Channel are among the organizations involved in this event. For more information contact: Barbara Levine or Michael Mogil at email@example.com or call 1-800-8CLOUD9. Web site: http://www.weatherworks.com
DISCOVERY CHANNEL SCHOOL PRESENTS "EARTH TO MARS"
In the spring, the Discovery Channel School will present "Earth to Mars," a series of programs that will help teach students the links between the mysterious universe and our fragile planet. The program examines the history of the space age that began with Sputnik and which is now reaching out to our closest neighbor, Mars. For more information go to: http://school.discovery.com/spring97/themes/earthtomars/index.html Discovery Channel School provides a rich library of online resources for their programs, including hands-on classroom activities, lesson plans, connections to academic standards, and links to related sites on the Web. In addition, a cadre of online educators, known as subject area managers, lead forum discussions and provide insight on effective use of the programming in the classroom. For a complete list of Discovery Channel School programs go to: http://school.discovery.com
[Editor's note: Greg Wilson is a planetary geologist on the Mars Pathfinder mission and operates a windtunnel at NASA's Ames Research Center in Mt. View, California.] THINGS ARE HECTIC! Greg Wilson - http://passporttoknowledge.com/lfm/team/wilson.html February 20, 1997 Sorry for not keeping my journal up to date, but things have been busy around here lately. I remember talking a lot about writing proposals in my first journal, and now I am happy (Ecstatic!) to report that my proposal to do atmospheric science on Mars Pathfinder was accepted. And to top it all off, a second proposal submitted last April was accepted right after the Christmas holidays. So now I am pretty busy just keeping everything going. The Mars Pathfinder (MPF) team is great. You can examine our abstracts on the MPF Web page (http://mpfwww.arc.nasa.gov/default.html).We have already planned measurements for the first seven sols (Martian days) and are really excited about some of the new measurements we will be making. It is also a great privilege to work with some of the most knowledgeable Mars atmospheric scientists in the world, and especially Al Seiff, who has measured the upper atmosphere of every planet we have sent spacecraft to (Venus, Earth, Mars and Jupiter, and in the future Titan!). Our excitement is tempered by some problems we have to overcome. The offset on the pressure sensor has changed since its initial calibration. An offset is a number that you add or subtract from your instrument measurement before you convert it into pressure (this number is also a function of instrument temperature). So what we have been doing during the cruise phase of the mission is to measure the offset periodically. These measurements are called health checks (HC), and nine of them have been performed during the mission thus far. Two weeks ago, while down at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), I had the chance to participate in HC#8. It was really pretty cool. The command was sent to the spacecraft to perform the HC, and two minutes later (equal to the round-trip light time) data started appearing on the computer console in front of me. We also got a three-day briefing on the spacecraft and all of its subsystems. I can't say enough about the MPF flight team at JPL, they are super! Back at the Planetary Aeolian Laboratory things are hectic. Wind tunnel experiments of Martian dust threshold are continuing. I will be traveling to Houston, TX next month to present two posters and give a talk on the research results of the past year (all of which I have yet to prepare!). My new proposal, just funded with Dr. Bruce White, will be looking at atmospheric stability effects on particle threshold under Martian conditions. When the sun heats up the surface of Mars, the atmosphere near the surface heats up and rises; we call this condition unstable. These rising parcels of atmosphere add some additional shear energy to the wind. We have previously only considered wind shear (neutral) and neglected the additional shear when looking at particle threshold, but what we think will happen when we include this effect is that it should take less wind shear to move the particles. The contrary should also be true (stable). If upper the upper-level atmosphere is cooler, the parcels will fall, dampening the shear stress and increase the wind shear need to move the particles. So the results of this experiments should be pretty cool. Finally, we are in the first stages of testing the two wind sensors on the Mars 98 mission. Dr. David Crisp, Colin Mahoney, and Rudy Vargas, all from JPL, have been at the Mars Wind Tunnel twice during the past two months to test the "proof of concept" wind sensors. Things look pretty good so far. The sensor is using a lot less power then the MPF wind sensor, and can measure winds up to 95 meters per second (that's about 200 miles per hour)! So that has been a lot of fun. I really enjoy the interaction I have with the scientists and engineers. Whenever you do an instrument test there is a "middle- ground" where theory (science) and application (engineering) meet. After putting in a few long days together, you can really appreciate the contribution each person makes to the team. On the personal side things are going pretty well. Now that the weather is better I have been flying my radio-controlled plane on the weekends or at least until it crashes! My girlfriend and I are hoping to do some whale watching in the next couple of weeks. I have not taken much time off since summer vacation, and am hopeful of taking some time off before July, when I will participate in the MPF prime mission. More on that in my next journal.
STUDENT ACTIVITY: TRACKING MARS ACROSS THE SKY
A wooden yardstick, a protractor, some thread, a couple of washers and a few other materials are all that are needed for your students to accurately chart the position of Mars across the sky. By taking repeated measurements over a period of several weeks, students will be able to detect the retrograde motion of Mars. This exercise will entail students to create a rudimentary instrument to measure the angular distance between Mars and at least two bright, nearby stars. For further information go to: http://passporttoknowledge.com/lfm/teachers/tg/supplemental.html
MARS GLOBAL SURVEYOR FLIGHT STATUS REPORTFebruary 7, 1997 [Editor's note: This status report was prepared by the Office of the Flight Operations Manager, Mars Surveyor Operations Project, Jet Propulsion Laboratory] Today, the flight team sent a command to Surveyor to activate the Mars Orbiter Camera. Over the weekend, the camera team will collect temperature data from the instrument in order to determine the best focus setting for a focus check test that will be performed on Tuesday, February 11. Earlier in the week, the flight team completed calibration activities on the gyroscopes in the inertial measurement unit. These gyroscopes are devices that provide critical data to the flight computers regarding Surveyor's pointing orientation in space. Each one of the three gyroscopes on the spacecraft has a primary and backup data channel. Over the course of a several day period, the spacecraft team examined data from the backup gyroscope channels in order to understand the slight variations between the in-flight performance and the performance as specified by the manufacturer. The knowledge of these minor variations was incorporated into Surveyor's flight software. This activity was performed to improve the spacecraft's ability to maintain a proper orientation in the event that the backup gyroscope channels are used. Throughout this past week, the magnetometer science instrument has also been active. The data collected during the week will provide the Magnetometer team with an opportunity to conduct further calibrations on the instrument. In addition, the data will provide the team with an opportunity to study the solar wind. This "wind" is a stream of protons and electrons that is constantly blown out from the Sun at a speed of 100,000 kilometers per second. After a mission-elapsed time of 92 days from launch, Surveyor is 21.51 million kilometers from the Earth, 107.49 million kilometers from Mars, and is moving in an orbit around the Sun with a velocity of 29.31 kilometers per second. This orbit will intercept Mars on September 12, 1997. The spacecraft is currently executing the C4 command sequence, and all systems continue to be in excellent condition.
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